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Paper and cardboard recycling process

October 6, 2022


The recycling of paper and cardboard is widespread, not only among consumers with the garbage cans on the street, but also at the business and industrial level. Recycling paper and cardboard allows us to give different lives to a material that can be recycled over and over again, thus contributing to reducing the business impact on the environment. It is estimated that in Spain around 71% of the paper and cardboard that our companies and consumers use on a daily basis is recycled. This makes Spain the second most efficient country in Europe in this respect, thanks to a highly innovative paper and cardboard recycling process that allows sustainable materials to be reused in packaging.

What is the paper and cardboard recycling process like?

To recycle and give a new life to the paper and cardboard that is collected, a procedure is followed until it is ready for a new use. The process follows the following order:

Step 1

The first thing that is done when the cardboard and waste paper is collected is to carry out a sorting process with the objective of having a paper mixture that is as homogeneous as possible. The paper and cardboard is sorted into different subtypes and then compacted for storage and waiting to be used in the next stage of processing.

Step 2

The next step consists of centrifuging and shredding the paper. A pulping machine is used to shred the paper and separate it into fibers to create a pulp to which water is added and which will be the basis of the new material to be created. At this stage, the process of transforming waste paper into new paper begins.

Step 3

In this step of the process is when the treatment of the new pulp previously produced is carried out. For this purpose, various minerals and additives are used to give the pulp the desired properties. For example, to make recycled paper look whiter or to make it more water resistant. To do this, the future use of the recycled paper must be evaluated.

Step 4

In step 4, the new paper or cardboard is manufactured. In this process, the paper is refined and pressed to obtain paper or cardboard of the desired thickness and size. It is then dried and later wound onto a spool to be sold wholesale. This paper or cardboard is ready to use, enjoying a paper with the desired weight, quality and size.

Is it possible to recycle any type of paper?

The large amount of paper and cardboard used in the daily life of any company forces us to recycle in order to reduce our impact on the environment. However, it is important to know that not all types of paper can be recycled, as there are exceptions that cannot be recycled.

Among the types of paper or cardboard that can be recycled are newspapers and magazines, advertising brochures, written paper and photocopies, books, boxes, cartons, cardboard packaging, letterheads and shopping receipts. But there are also some types of paper and cardboard that should not be introduced together with the previous ones because they cannot be recycled.

We are talking, for example, about toilet or sanitary paper, waxed or paraffin-embossed paper, photographic paper and fax paper. All of them cannot be recycled and must be disposed of together with the organic elements. In any case, if you need to know more about the possibility of recycling or not your paper and cardboard Contact Embalajes Selección and we will offer you all the information you need about it.

What can recycled paper and cardboard be turned into?

The recycling process of paper and cardboard can be reused for different purposes depending on the purity of the pulp and the grammage at which it has been recycled. The most common uses after recycling are as follows:

  • Cardboard plates and cups
  • Paper for tissues, paper towels and napkins
  • Boxes and paper for packaging
  • Gift boxes
  • Decorated bags
  • Cardboard
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Cartons for fruit or egg cartons
  • Paper for printing and writing (magazines, diaries, notebooks, newspapers, recycled paper…).

Paper and cardboard recycling process

What are the benefits of recycling paper and cardboard?

Recycling paper and cardboard provides interesting social and environmental benefits, such as the following:

  • Reduced impact on water and soil contamination
  • Decrease in the cost of acquiring new raw materials
  • Protection of forests and natural resources by preventing them from being cut down to create new paper and cardboard.
  • Reduced generation of garbage and waste, reducing the cost of waste treatment.
  • We avoid the incineration of paper and the resulting gas emissions that damage the atmosphere.
  • Generation of new jobs in the recycling industry.

As can be seen, the paper and cardboard recycling process follows a procedure that converts waste into a new material ready for domestic or business use.

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